One of Mary’s earliest memories is of coming to Montana Rescue Mission with her family for meals. They were not homeless, but needed some help to get by during hard times. When Mary dropped out of high school and gave birth to her first daughter at 18, she didn’t realize she was continuing the cycle of poverty her parents had endured. Eight years of methamphetamine addiction and a drug-related conviction made it even less likely she would ever escape the cycle herself.

Fortunately, some of Mary’s friends found their way out of addiction and into responsible new lives. Now a mother of three girls and homeless, Mary decided it was time to follow their lead. And she knew where she could get the help she needed: Montana Rescue Mission.

At the Shelter, Mary met with counselors and entered the women’s program. “I’m taking parenting classes,” Mary says. “They have good resources here.” Now sober, Mary is also making long-term plans, including classes to become a cosmetologist.

“The Mission keeps me on my toes,” says Mary. “If I was out on the streets or living with somebody, I wouldn’t be doing anything. The Mission is helping me go further in life.”

Having been homeless, Mary is hopeful her daughters—19 and 12 years old and an eight-month-old infant—will not follow in her footsteps. “I want to make a good foundation for my kids, so they don’t have to live the life they saw me living. I want a better future for us.”

Mary tells us being homeless was hard, but it made her stronger. “You have to experience it for yourself to know what it’s like,” she says.

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